Reconfigurable microfluidic channel with pin-discretized sidewalls

Nobuyuki Futai, Kenji Fujita, Wataru Ikuta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microfluidic components need to have various shapes to realize different key microfluidic functions such as mixing, separation, particle trapping, or reactions. A microfluidic channel that deforms even after fabrication while retaining the channel shape enables high spatiotemporal reconfigurability. This reconfigurability is required in such key microfluidic functions that are difficult to achieve in existing "reconfigurable" or "integrated" microfluidic systems. We describe a method for the fabrication of a microfluidic channel with a deformable sidewall consisting of a laterally aligned array of the ends of rectangular pins. Actuating the pins in their longitudinal directions changes the pins' end positions, and thus, the shape of discretized channel sidewalls.Pin gaps can cause unwanted leakage or adhesion to adjacent pins caused by meniscus forces. To close the pin gaps, we have introduced hydrocarbon-fluoropolymer suspension-based gap filler accompanied by an elastomeric barrier. This reconfigurable microfluidic device can generate strong temporal in-channel displacement flow, or can stop the flow in any region of the channel. This feature will facilitate, on demand, the handling of cells, viscous liquids, gas bubbles, and non-fluids, even if their existence or behavior is unknown at the time of fabrication.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere57230
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number134
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr 13


  • Bioengineering
  • Cell culture
  • Discretized sidewall
  • Issue 134
  • Microfluidics
  • Pins
  • Reconfigurable
  • Seals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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